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Can you really justify RCM, Part 2.

My last column, published in the September issue of Solutions! magazine, generated a great deal of feedback. I expected to hear critiques from devoted RCM "purists" but received nothing but comments of agreement from readers.

An online poll in the October 19 issue of Ahead of the Curve, a free weekly newsletter published by TAPPI, also confirms that very few organizations, if any, use complete RCM analysis. Less than 7% answered that they use RCM regularly and 56% answered that they tried it but do not use it anymore (see Figure 1). Below are written responses from three readers:

"Good article and I agree fully. RCM has its place in things like aircraft design. One large industrial plant put thousands of man-hours into it and claimed great results, but a visit to their plant showed that their calculation of benefits was based on assumptions, not hard numbers, and they would not allow entry to the plant to talk to their craftspeople. I also think they started from a low point and good PM/ECCM would have achieved the same results. On the other hand, everyone who is responsible for maintenance should read Moubray's book, RCM II. It's the most logical approach to maintenance that I've ever read, and while it doesn't need to be applied in detail, the concepts are great."--Don A.

"I read you article and agree very closely with your position on RCM. Prior to working in the paper industry. I worked in a nuclear power plant. We went through an RCM type maintenance evaluation and the results were similar to the example in the article. It just amounted to a standardized table of easily identified failure modes and the actions to prevent or detect them. At least I was able to get the right frequencies put in for the predictive maintenance work I was doing at the time. It did look like a good way to make some easy money if you can get a contract for an RCM analysis.

"One additional point I would make about RCM that was not in your article is that the general theory is very good for any one in maintenance to understand. Working through some rigid RCM examples in the early stages of learning the maintenance profession does help drive the concepts home. In that respect, I would recommend it as a good training tool for career maintenance or reliability professionals. The training should also include how to take these concepts and use them in a practical and affordable way. Many maintenance departments have a variety of PMs on the books that were created when something failed. When we go through RCFA analysis of a failure at the paper mill where I work, I use RCM type logic when someone offers up another PM as the answer to our problem. I basically ask exactly what are the failure modes we really need to prevent and will this PM proposal accomplish that. This tactic has allowed me to kill some inappropriate PM proposals and create some good ones. It only takes a few minutes of brainstorming and discussion to get the process done."--James Jack.

"I too have encountered many paper mill sites where they have tried to apply all of the principles of RCM (classical) and have failed to produce any meaningful results. In fact, in most cases, there are NO results, but plenty of costly efforts. I believe there is a place for the 'plain common sense' aspects of the RCM process, but these have to be applied with moderation and show a return on investment. As the old saying goes, it's not the process (journey), it's the output (destination) that is the objective. Too often I think we get caught up in the process."--John Yolton.

I would very much like to hear your comments on RCM and true results that could not have been achieved with less effort. Email them to me at info@idcon.com attn. Christer Idhammar.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Christer Idhammar is president and founder of IDCON INC., Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. IDCON is a consulting company providing worldwide education, training and implementation of better operations and maintenance practices. For more information, go to: www.idcon.com. Send email to info@idcon.com.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELIABILITY ROUNDTABLES: We are planning the 20th Annual Pulp & Paper Reliability and Maintenance Conference and Exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia October 2-6, 2006. To listen and learn from the industry, we will arrange a number of Reliability Roundtables in the U.S. and Canada in January and February 2006. This will help us design an even better program for the 20th year celebration of the only Reliability and Maintenance Event designed only for the Pulp and Paper Industry. Please let us know if you want to participate. Send us an email at info@idcon.com. We are on the Web at www.idcon.com.

CHRISTER IDHAMMAR, IDCON INC.
TAPPI Weekly SURVEY

Survey Results for 10/19/2005:

Does your mill or company use Reliability Centered Maintenance?

We once used it but do not 55.81%
use it anymore
Yes, but not in all 18.60%
circumstances
No, we have never used RCM 18.60%
Yes, regularly 6.98%

Figure 1: Ahead of the Curve poll results.
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Title Annotation:RELIABILITY AND MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT
Author:Idhammar, Christer
Publication:Solutions - for People, Processes and Paper
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:877
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